Study: Overnight contacts delaying glasses for children



ATLANTA - A contact lens that is worn only overnight and can give you perfect eyesight during the day without glasses is showing real promise in helping children’s eyesight long-term, a new study shows.

Nya Powell, 11, is a violin player who has no problem reading her sheet music thanks to contacts, but that wasn’t always the case.

"It started to get really blurry.  I couldn't really read the homework assignments and it was affecting how I played sports," Powell said.

Powell wore soft contact lenses for a few years, but recently she tried something new.  She wore a hard contact lens known as a CRT lens, at night and took them out each morning.   It left Powell with clear vision for the rest of the day.

Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge spoke with an Atlanta optometrist who said the hard contact lens reshapes the cornea while you sleep.

"Typically, depending on the prescription, the prescription will be reduced either by 50 to 60 percent the next day or even 80 to 90 percent," Dr. Gavin Cohen said.

Cohen said the contacts correct the power in the eye for 24 to 48 hours, depending on the person.   He said it is especially good for people who have trouble wearing contact lenses during the day, such as people with allergies.

 Cohen told Sbarge the most promising news about the lens came from recent studies showing its effect on teens and children.  The research showed wearing the CRT lens at night appeared to stop the progression of near-sightedness.

 "(The lens) is very attractive in patients who are progressing quickly and this is one of the ways we know how to prevent the progression of myopia," Cohen said.

 How long it prevents the progression is still unknown.  Cohen said it could take 10 or more years to study the pre-teens who are wearing the lenses now.

 Powell told Sbarge she is just happy with the way the lenses work for her and she doesn't feel the lenses when she's asleep.

 "Actually, I think it's a great idea.  It's actually a pretty amazing invention," she said.

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